CDC Foundation and National Council on Aging Launch New Online Tool to Help Older Adults Prevent Falls and Fall Injuries

Today, the CDC Foundation and National Council on Aging (NCOA) launch Falls Free CheckUp, a new online tool to help older adults check their risk for a fall, a leading cause of injury and death for adults 65 and over. The Falls Free CheckUp was developed by the CDC Foundation with support from Amgen and leveraged technical resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase awareness of older adult falls and offer evidence-based tools to prevent falls. Today’s launch is part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness of falls and fall prevention during Falls Prevention Awareness Week (FPAW), September 19–23, 2022.

Each year, 1 in 10 older adults will experience a fall that results in injury, such as a broken bone or head injury, according to CDC. Fall prevention is very important because these injuries can be life-altering and difficult to recover from.

The Falls Free CheckUp asks 13 simple questions and only takes a few minutes to complete. It can be completed by either the individual or by a family member on their behalf. The screening results include:

• Recommended next steps, such as speaking with a doctor about fall risks

• A downloadable report to share with a doctor

• Resources to help prevent falls

After completing the screening, users can set up an account to receive reminders to visit their doctor and revisit the tool to continue to monitor their fall risk.

“Falls are not a natural part of aging, and the Falls Free CheckUp is an important tool to understand what you can do to prevent a fall. Knowing your risk and talking to your doctor about your Falls Free CheckUp results are critically important to ensure that a fall does not impact your health or independence.” Debra Houry, MD, MPH, CDC acting principal deputy director and director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

“Regular checkups are an important way to stay healthy as we age—and that includes checking your risk for a fall,” said Kathleen Cameron, senior director at the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging. “With their Falls Free CheckUp results in hand, older adults can take action to reduce falls in partnership with their health care providers, caregivers and local community-based organizations.”

“A fall can have a devastating impact, particularly for those with osteoporosis, a condition that affects 10 million Americans. For many, falls can result in fractures, which can lead to hospital stays and life-changing consequences,” said Darryl Sleep, MD, chief medical officer at Amgen. “The Falls Free CheckUp can help people understand their risk and take steps to prevent falls; this is an important component of fracture prevention.”

The Falls Free CheckUp, developed using research and design guidance from NORC at the University of Chicago, is the first of two resources aimed at preventing older adult falls and fall injuries. The second tool will help older adults create a plan to decrease their current and future fall risk. This prevention planning tool will include information and action items specifically tailored to the user’s unique needs, such as home safety improvements, managing chronic conditions and suggestions for strength and balance exercises. A communications campaign will follow in 2024 to educate caregivers about ways to talk with their loved ones about fall risk and how to use the two online tools to prevent falls and fall-related injuries.

According to Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, “Falls become more common as we get older, but many falls can be prevented. The CDC Foundation is proud to work alongside Amgen and our valued partners at NCOA and NORC to bring this valuable tool to older adults and caregivers.”